On 8-6-19, researcher Roger Glassel shared emails between Luis Elizondo and various others showing the conversations and steps taken during the process of getting the three now famous UAP videos (Flir, Gimbal, and Go Fast) released by the DOD via DOPSR to the public. You can read the PDF file here: “FOIA Response_ Elizondo AATIP Video Emails.” I will attempt to break down some of the more important points contained in this latest FOIA release and share some new information.
These emails shed light on Elizondo’s role in AATIP, a government UAP program he claims to have ran. Elizondo’s position within the program has been debated recently due to contradictory statements from the Pentagon. Not only have the Pentagon’s statements at times contradicted media reports, but some of the statements have countered the Pentagon’s own assertions. This has confused many researchers, and rightly so. However this issue seems to be contained among a subsection of the diehard UFO community disputing the minutia. To the public at large, the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, and other mainstream media outlets this issue is settled. Those entrenched in the debate will view the emails as more proof of their opinions and preconceived notions, whatever they may be. There have been rumors of further clarification being released by the Pentagon but at press time this has not happened.
At various points in the emails, as in many documents obtained through FOIA, names and information are redacted. This occurs due to a host of reasons. Names and information are often sensitive or classified, especially in this case. These emails show that many people were in the loop during the exchange about the videos. Elizondo uses the word “our” when talking about the video release request. This shows it wasn’t a personal whim on his part. It took alot of coordination to get the videos declassified. Some individuals were from the National Programs Special Management Staff. Sources have told SilvaRecord.com various unspecified names that were redacted in this document worked for Mr. Elizondo at the time, and still work for the current incarnation of AATIP, whatever it may be called. Other names contained in these emails are individuals who worked for Elizondo and are referenced directly – not redacted. This bolsters the case for Elizondo’s claim that he was the point man for AATIP.
We are also able to see the videos were requested to be released with an UNCLASSIFIED distinction. In the emails themselves, even the “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” and “SECRET/NOFORN” classifications were scratched out. This was not done by Elizondo. They were scratched out by the people sending the emails. One person would probably be Michael Russo (who seems to be handling the DOPSR requests) and other redacted/unnamed individuals.
Another debated issue since the release of the DD1910 is whether Elizondo requested the videos to be released under false pretense. These emails prove there was an ongoing conversation involving multiple entities and people within the DOD. If Elizondo had deceived the DOD and got these videos released by using some sort of ruse, there would be repercussions. High ranking intelligence operatives can’t release sensitive videos and expect to get away with it. That would be a prosecutable offense and Luis would be facing consequences. The DOD made it clear there were no restrictions on how the material could be used.
In the enclosed DD1910 document, previously released by George Knapp, some of the wording has confused the public. Elizondo wrote “not for publication” when describing the videos because they weren’t going to be published in print. You don’t publish videos in print, you release them. The DOD themselves chose to declassify the videos. We now know this because Michael Russo said:
Michael Russo – “If the Service-level OCA verifies to me (simple one-sentence email is fine) that removing the metadata from the videos makes them UNCLASSIFIED, please feel free to move forward with release.”
Looking at the DD1910, we know the videos then became UNCLASSIFIED. As stated in the document it says the “OCA is Navy POC.” This means the Original Classification Authority is the Navy. The Navy gave the green light, once the classified, sensitive metadata was stripped from the video clips. Even though Elizondo requested the videos be released with a “not for publication” status, the DOD seemed to disregard this, and gave the videos the OK to be released in a larger sense when they state in the document:
“CLEARED For Open Publication
Aug 24, 2017
Department of Defense
OFFICE OF PREPUBLICATION AND SECURITY REVIEW”
The files were UNCLASSIFIED but still sent via SIPR.
Luis Elizondo – “Per your guidance, please find the attached three .mpg files for your review. Please note, although the files are UNCLASSIFIED, they are being sent via SIPR in the spirit of extra precaution. No locational data is provided in any of the files and therefore there should be no classification issues.”
Elizondo outlined the “STRATEGIC ISSUE” for the release of the videos:
Elizondo – “STRATEGIC ISSUE: Unmanned aerial vehicles (balloons, commercial UAVs, private drones such as quadcopters, etc) continue to pose a potential threat to DoD facilities, equipment, and location. Army, Navy, and Air Force have all acknowledged the potential threat by UAS’ to DoD equities but no single UNCLASSIFIED repository exists to share this information across all stakeholders.”
Many people wonder if AATIP was classified. The videos were classified as “Secret” at one point. By definition that makes that part of the program classified. “UAP” (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) and even “AATIP” were not named here because portions of the AATIP program were very classified while other portions were not but remained “unacknowledged.” We can see this is the case from the original SAP (special access program) memo Harry Reid wrote to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, again originally released by George Knapp. Since portions of AATIP were classified, and the program in general was highly sensitive and protected, this is the reason “balloons, commercial UAVs, private drones such as quadcopters, ETC“ were used as descriptors of the crafts in the videos. From Harry Reid’s Memo:
Harry Reid – “Given the likelihood that these technologies will be applied to future systems involving space flight, weapons, communications, and propulsion, the standard management and safeguarding procedures for classified information are not sufficient.”
Elizondo then went on to outline the “PURPOSE” for the release of the videos:
Luis Elizondo – “PURPOSE: Our collective purpose is to eventually establish an UNCLASSIFIED database or “Community of Interest” of related signature data to be accessible by stakeholders such as DIA, the Navy, Defense Industry partners, and perhaps even State, Local & Tribal authorities to catalog and identify specific UAS threats to national security and/or DoD equities. By creating a virtual library to catalog and analyze each event, our hope will be to better understand the capabilities, and ultimately vulnerabilities of these systems.”
We see at this point one of the early references to the “Community of Interest” which is now a common theme with To the Stars Academy. Mr. Elizondo was working on this before he joined TTSA. Regardless of TTSA the “Community of Interest” seemed to be one of Elizondo’s goals. That is part of the reason why Mr. Elizondo requested the video be declassified and slated for release before he retired and before he joined TTSA. Was the “Community of Interest” part of a greater AATIP goal? It may have been, but I don’t have the answer to this question. I think this is an interesting topic we should explore moving forward.
These FOIA’d emails by Roger Glassell seem to not be every email in this exchange because other conversations are referenced. If other emails are released, the public will be able to see an even larger and more complete picture. As it stands, this release is a valuable resource that sheds more light on the inner workings and conversations between the DOD and AATIP. The emails give us a broader idea of how the videos were released, by whom and why.
George Knapp posted this partial statement from Luis Elizondo. I will update this blog again tomorrow with the full statement.
George Knapp – Lue Elizondo gave me a detailed statement tonight. Here is one excerpt from it. The rest will be released tomorrow.
“At the time of the request, AATIP was still a small and sensitive program that I was not at liberty to discuss among a broader audience. As such, I used the term UAS as a general phrase that people could understand without specifically highlighting UAPs. “